WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 pm CT
WHERE: Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
TV/RADIO: SEC Network/Tiger Radio Network
SERIES: Missouri leads 1-0
LAST MEETING: Missouri beat LSU 20-15 in 1978
LINE: LSU -14
GAMBLING ADVICE: We're going with the over here. A 31-24 score even hits that right on the head if LSU takes this one. With Orgeron and the team wanting to make a statement against a high-scoring offense like Missouri, teams will put some points on the board. As far as the line, there's a lot of energy for LSU, but the Tigers will have to deal with a high-powered offense, which leads me to believe Mizzou will cover.
So much can change in just a week. LSU fired Les Miles last weekend following the loss to Auburn, which saw LSU mismanage the clock once again, costly the Tigers a shot to beat Auburn on the road. LSU's offense scored just one offensive touchdown and was shut out again in the fourth quarter. LSU couldn't get a final snap off on the last play and the game was over. LSU's defense bent, but didn't break against Auburn. Auburn still kicked six field goals en route to the win, but for the most part, Auburn was held in check. Auburn came out on top and that led to Ed Orgeron being named coach by the end of Sunday.
LSU went to shorter practices this week immediately under Orgeron to keep players fresher. The energy brought to the program with Orgeron is something the players have fed off of all week. There are question marks still, but this team should play looser under the new staff. The offense under Steve Ensminger's direction will open up passing the ball in all likelihood to help create room for Leonard Fournette to run the ball.
For the second week in a row, LSU faces a Tigers team, that really likes to push the pace offensively when they can. Quarterback Drew Lock can really sling it around the park. The no-huddle offense under the direction of Josh Heupel will push LSU's defense and make sure the staff substitutes at the right time. After losing a close on to Georgia, Missouri rolled up 698 yards of total offense and hung 79 points on Deleware State. Linebacker Michael Scherer had an interception and is a big play maker for Missouri. Him matching up against Fournette will be one of the matchups to watch.
Matchup to Watch
LSU DB Tre'Davious White vs. Missouri WR J'Mon Moore. LSU's top cornerback will likely draw the assignment of covering Mizzou's top receiver, who has 434 yards and six touchdowns on the season. White has been playing more on the outside, but with Kevin Toliver back in the mix, that might change. White should draw the assignment though against Moore. White has been the toughest cornerback to throw at in college football. Don't expect that to change if he covers Moore.
Keys to the Game
Win the turnover battle. LSU can't turn the ball over and give extra opportunities to Missouri's offense. There's too many playmakers on that side of the ball for Missouri to not take advantage. Danny Etling will have to take care of the football and manage the game well. Missouri is an opportunistic defense and will capitalize. Orgeron touched on it in his opening press conference that taking away the football is something he will stress at the utmost.
Play mistake-free football. LSU's offense is still changing and Missouri's offense will place stress on the defense. LSU can't have drive-killing penalties and mistakes since the offense just isn't able to overcome things like that just yet. Defensively, blown coverages can't happen against Missouri. Luckily for LSU, blown assignments haven't been a theme this season on defense. If LSU can continue that trend, it'll give them a great shot to defend Missouri's offense well.
What to Watch For
When LSU is on Offense: LSU will likely come out passing with Danny Etling under center. That's something Orgeron talked a lot about passing early to set up the run. Expect LSU to loosen up the defense with that and then to get to running the football with Leonard Fournette (if available) and Derrius Guice.
When LSU is on Defense: The defense is going to come out flying around and playing with a ton of energy with coach Orgeron at the helm. The secondary will have to be on point on Saturday night. Lock has been on fire and will test LSU's defensive backs especially those not named Tre White and Donte Jackson. LSU has to force turnovers.
When Missouri is on Offense: The uptempo attack is something LSU has prepared for this week by using two Scout team offenses and will put some stress on the defense. Lock can really sling it around the park and he's going to be looking early and often to push the ball down the field.
When Missouri is on Defense: Missouri will run a four-man front and features a secondary with experience and a lot of players Barry Odom trusts. The Tigers are coming off a game where Missouri forced four turnovers. This is a team that prides itself on defense as much as its high-flying offense.
LSU will ride an emotional wave of energy to win 34-21. A late score by Missouri will make it closer than it seems, but LSU will control the game for the most part from start to finish. LSU's defense will be opportunistic and force turnovers while LSU's offense will cut down on bad penalties and control the clock. I'm not entirely sure Fournette will suit up. LSU's leading back hasn't practiced this week and that's not a great sign. Luckily, he's one of the players that can flip the switch and just go. Without having practiced on Friday, that'd make his chances of playing even slimmer. Derrius Guice will have to step up and I think he will. White will be one to watch for a gamechanging play on the defensive side of the ball. Those players would love nothing more for Orgeron than a stellar defensive performance for their new coach.null